The Zipping Classic meeting will be held at Sandown-Hillside on Saturday. The course proper was rated a Good 4 on Thursday and with overcast weather in Melbourne leading up to the weekend, Sandown is likely to be racing on a Good track on race day.
Melbourne Cup winning jockey Craig Williams can continue his good form by taking out the Sandown Stakes on Music Bay (Melbourne Race 4, 1500m). The 4YO mare ran 3rd in her first two starts this preparation before a 7th last start in the Group 3 Tesio Stakes over 1600m. Dropping back in trip with three weeks between runs should suit. Top weight Widgee Turf is the class horse but he does have to give Music Bay 5kg in weight, not to mention a start in the home straight. Music Bay looks the horse they all have to catch.
The Dan O’Sullivan-trained Affair To Remember is primed to peak in the Sandown Guineas (Melbourne Race 7, 1600m). The Toranado filly broke through for her maiden win at her second race start over 1300m at Geelong on September 1 but was then beaten into 7th place in the Listed Jim Moloney Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on September 21. Last start, Affair To Remember had no luck finishing 3rd in a 1700m race at Flemington having to come from a long way back after drawing a wide gate. The 3YO will settle a bit closer from the good gate (5) and 4th up on Saturday will have Affair To Remember at peak fitness for the Guineas.
Irish import Southern France is looking to take out the Zipping Classic as a consolation for his failure in the Melbourne Cup (Melbourne Race 8, 2400m). This Galileo stallion had good form in Europe having finished 3rd in the Group 1 Irish St Leger (2800m) before he failed to run on in the Melbourne Cup, where he settled a long way back in a slowly run race and was never a chance. Southern France pulled up from the Cup run extremely well according to his trainers Ciaron Maher and David Eustace. The smaller field on Saturday should suit. Mark Zahra will settle behind mid-field in the Zipping Classic and Southern France will finish the race off the strongest.
By Owens Wong, Editor